It looks like progressive groups are trying to play a little good cop, bad cop routine with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) as they push for Senate Democrats to include a public insurance option in their health care overhaul legislation.Americans United for Change, a progressive nonprofit group backed by labor union funding, announced a $23,000 radio ad campaign in Nevada on Wednesday aiming to cheer on Reid as he fights to get health care for all Americans including a public option this year.Group spokesman Jeremy Funk said in a statement that the hope is that by publicly reinforcing the efforts of the Senate Majority Leader, the organization will send a message to all Senators that advocates of health insurance reform will have their back in supporting the public option.The ad is airing for a week on stations in Las Vegas and Reno.Thats a different tack than the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a nonprofit founded this cycle to help liberal candidates and advocate for progressive policy priorities, which has taken a more threatening tone in an ad campaign that it announced Monday.The groups TV ad, which went on the air Wednesday in the Las Vegas media market, asks whether Reid is strong enough to push through legislation that includes the public option. It features a Nevada nurse, Lee Slaughter, saying her backing of Reid in his tough 2010 re-election battle is contingent on him passing a public option into law.In an e-mail to supporters Monday announcing the ad buy, which will reportedly cost $50,000 and is airing on both broadcast and cable, the group accused Reid of lowering progressive expectations on the bill. Thats unacceptable, the e-mail said.The group is hoping to raise $100,000 to continue airing the ad; $52,000 has already come in via the Democratic fundraising Web site ActBlue.Reid faces a fight to win a fifth term in the Senate recent polls have shown him trailing two relatively unknown Republican challengers and with negative favorability ratings.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.